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Enchanting Tamil Nadu Tour

Duration:
11 days / 10 nights
Destinations:
Chennai, Mahabalipuram, Pondicherry, Kumbakonam, Chettinadu, Rajakkad, Madurai
Price Guide:

Price guide for this 11 day Tamil Nadu tour

  • £1225 in low season
  • £1435 in high season

based on two people travelling.

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Overview

Culture & Heritage Tamil Nadu Tour

This enchanting Tamil Nadu tour is perfect for anyone interested in history and culture and is looking for a south India temple tour. Amongst other treasures, you will discover the temple town of Madurai and explore the wonderful world heritage sites of the Great Living Chola Temples in Tanjore (Thanjavur) & Darasuram, and the Ancient Group of Monuments at Mahabalipuram.

  • Sightseeing tour of Chennai
  • Mahabalipuram UNESCO world heritage sites
  • Full day tour of Pondicherry
  • Living Chola Temples world heritage sites including Airavatesvara Temple tour and a visit to Brihadisvara Temple with its 62-metre high tower
  • Lord Nataraja Temple tour
  • See the expert craft people at Chettinad
  • Time to explore Rajakkad and the beautiful Western Ghats
  • Tour of the wonderful temple town of Madurai

Please remember all our private tours are designed to meet your exact requirements, and this tour is just an example to help inspire you.

Enchanting Tamil Nadu - 11 Days / 10 Nights

This enchanting Tamil Nadu tour is perfect for anyone interested in history and culture and is looking for a south India temple tour. Amongst other treasures you will discover the temple town of Madurai and explore the wonderful world heritage sites of the Great Living Chola Temples in Tanjore (Thanjavur) & Darasuram, and the Ancient Group of Monuments at Mahabalipuram.

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Day 1 - Arrive in Chennai

The first stop on your South India tour is Chennai, the thriving capital of the Southern state of Tamil Nadu and a rich storehouse of Southern culture and tradition. On arrival at Chennai International Airport you will be met by your Authentic India Tours representative and transferred to your hotel.

In the afternoon you will embark upon a discovery tour of Chennai. Highlights of the tour include the ancient Shiva temple of Kapaleeshwar, Fort St. George and San Thome Basilica, which is said to have been built over the tomb of Thomas the Apostle.

End the day with a visit to Marina beach, a 13km stretch of sand and sea. It’s a popular hangout spot for the locals and is perfect for an evening promenade.

Accommodation: Grand by GRT
Meals included: Breakfast
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Day 2 - Chennai to Mahabalipuram

After breakfast we drive along the coast to visit the Mahabalipuram, a laid back beachside town where the ancient and the modern rub shoulders.

Here you will find the Ancient Monuments at Mahabalipuram UNESCO world heritage site. Marvel at the chariot shaped temples (rathas) and amazing cave temples, carved deep into the rock which date back to the 7th and 8th century.

The intricately carved Shore Temple, which overlooks the Bay of Bengal, is a perfect place to watch the sun set.

Approximate travel time and distance: 2 hours, 70 kms

Accommodation: Radisson Blu Temple Bay
Meals included: Breakfast
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Day 3 - Mahabalipuram

Today you have a day of leisure to discover Mahabalipuram at your own pace. It's an opportunity to rediscover the Ancient Monuments of Mahabalipuran or alternatively you can visit the seashell museum or try the Mamallapuram lighthouse for great views.

This laid back beachside town is the perfect place to just relax and enjoy the coastal location  Othavadai Street is a popular traveller’s hangout spot, a place to grab a plate of Tibetan momos and a beer. Mahabalipuram is also a renowned surfing destination and offers beautiful beaches.

Accommodation: Radisson Blu Temple Bay
Meals included: Breakfast
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Day 4 - Mahabalipuram to Pondicherry

Enjoy the morning drive to the former French colony of Pondicherry. This is a town brimming with unique experiences, from the famous Sri Aurobindo Ashram to miles of beautiful sandy beaches.

You can visit the striking Arulmigu Manakula Vinayagar Temple to meet their resident elephant, Lakshmi. Here you will earn a blessing in exchange for a donation of a few rupees or a banana, which she will accept with her trunk. Later we will visit a handmade paper-making unit and Pondicherry museum, to learn about the city’s fascinating colonial history.

Explore the historic French Quarter with its wide cobbled streets and some of the best restaurants in South India, offering a scintillating fusion of French and Indian cuisines.

Approximate travel time and distance: 2 hours, 100 kms

Accommodation: Palais De Mahe
Meals included: Breakfast
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Day 5 - Pondicherry to Kumbakonam

The next stage of your holiday in India takes you inland to the bustling temple town of Kumbakonam. En route there is an opportunity to visit Chidambaram, home to one of Tamil Nadu's Dravidian architectural highlights – the famous Nataraja Temple complex.

Our travels then continue on to Darasuram, where you will find the famous Indian landmark, the ornate Airavatesvara Temple, a UNESCO world heritage site. There will be plenty of time to explore Kumbakonam and its abundant, colourful temples.

Approximate travel time and distance: 4 hours, 160 kms

Accommodation: Mantra Koodam
Meals included: Breakfast
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Day 6 - Kumbakonam to Chettinad

After breakfast, we depart for Chettinad, the homeland of the Chettiyars, stopping on the way in the historic town of Tanjore (Thanjavur) which is famed for its UNESCO Living Chola Temples

You will have time to visit the beautiful Brihadeeshwara Temple, which has a 62 metre high sandstone tower ornately decorated in religious carvings as well as the bronze museum.

Approximate travel time and distance: in total 3.5 hrs, 150 km

Accommodation: Visalam
Meals included: Breakfast
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Day 7 - Chettinad

After breakfast, it's time to explore Chettinad at leisure. This community of merchants grew prosperous trading in Southeast Asia in the 19th and 20th centuries, and spared no expense building their homes in Chettinad, so it's little wonder that there's so much grandeur to take in today.

For example, stroll the shady streets admiring the vast palatial mansions and take in the splendor of the art and architecture, the most famous being Chettinadu Raja’s Palace. Visit the Arraynar shrine of Kothadi where alignment of terracotta figures which have been offered to the village Deity. Go antique shopping at the main market on Muneeswaran Koil street in Karaikudi, where shopkeepers are friendly and willing to chat with you about the rich history of their wares, most of them from local Chettiar homes

Accommodation: Visalam
Meals included: Breakfast
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Day 8 - Chettinad to Rajakkad

After breakfast, you'll set out for Rajakkad, near the city of Dindigul. As you go further into the Western Ghats, you won't believe your eyes watching the dense greenery fly past you.

Once you reach Rajakkad and the beautiful boutique hotel Rajakkad Estate, you have free time to relax and explore your sultry and verdant surroundings or to try out a spot of yoga on the polished black oxide platform that looks out over the valley below.

Approximate travel time and distance: 4-5 hours, 400 km

Accommodation: Rajakkad Estate
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
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Day 9 - Rajakkad

Take your time absorbing the beauty of the Rajakkad Estate and its rich history (the traditional wooden palace structure has been dismantled and reassembled in different locations twice!) then explore the surrounding coffee, cardamom, ginger and pepper plantations. 

After a walk among the rich wildlife, you can saunter down to the village with one of the hotel guides or make the most of the completely tranquil estate. Make sure you don't miss the delicious, locally-sourced dinner though!

Accommodation: Rajakkad Estate
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
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Day 10 - Rajakkad to Madurai

After breakfast, it's time to set off for the famous temple town of Madurai. This is a beautiful town set against the backdrop of the 14 colourful gopurams (gateway towers) of Meenakshi Amman Temple. You will have the chance to marvel at the multi-tiered, technicolour wonder covered in bright carvings of mythical figures. The Dravidian-style temple is a major pilgrimage site, and our guide will help you unravel its mysteries.

In the evening you will visit the Thirumalai Nayak Palace and the Sri Meenakshi Amman Temple. Upon entering the temple, notice the colourful textile and crafts stalls around the Pudhu Mandapam with diligent tailors at their sewing machines. 

Approximate travel time and distance: 2.5 hours, 70 km

Accommodation: Heritage Madurai
Meals included: Breakfast
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Day 11 - Depart from Madurai

Today you will be picked up by your driver and transferred to Madurai International Airport to catch your flight home.

If you are lucky enough to have more time, why not try an extension to your tour for a beach break in Kerala.

Approximate travel time and distance: 45 mins, 15 km

Meals included: Breakfast
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Quick overview

Accommodation

Grand by GRT, Chennai

Located in the heart of Chennai this hotel was stylishly refurbished in 2016 effortlessly fusing style and comfort together. With 133 rooms to choose from guests will enjoy spacious accommodation with modern interiors. A gym, pool and spa allows guests to relax while the themed bar, restaurant and 24 hour bistro offering fine Indian dining and multi-cuisine buffet will appease any appetite.

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Radisson Blu Temple Bay Resort, Mahabalipuram

Located in close proximity to the Bay of Bengal, Radisson Blue Temple Bay is a modern and stylish hotel. Set in 44 acres of lush gardens this family friendly resort boasts a 27,000 square foot swimming pool that meanders through the resort as well as a beautiful infinity pool. With stunning waterfront views, 2 restaurants on site, as well as the Bodhi Ayur spa, this place offers the ultimate in relaxing holidays.

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Palais De Mahe, Pondicherry

One of many heritage hotels in India, The Palais de Mahe is a French colonial style hotel that has been sympathetically designed reflecting the history and architecture of Pondicherry. Surrounded by the sophistication of the French quarter it offers accommodation decorated with classic period style and modern touches. Distinctive French features include arched doorways, high ceilings and roof beams. Guests can enjoy a courtyard pool, spa and beautiful location just a stroll away from the Bay of Bengal.

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Mantra Koodam, Kumbakonam

Mantra Koodam is a unique eco-friendly resort located along the banks of the Veera Choza and Cauvery rivers where a dedicated bridge for access offers a tranquil location. With the wellbeing and relaxation of its guests a main priority the resort offers a wellness spa overlooking river views. Accommodation of cottages and bungalows with rustic exteriors encased in beautiful gardens ensure a comfortable stay. Traditional meals are on offer consisting purely of healthy vegetarian cuisine.

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Visalam, Chettinad

Visalam is a distinctive heritage house reflecting the character of Chettinad, a region famous for palatial homes and colourful culture. Sympathetically restored this grand heritage mansion has been preserved showcasing the original detail and character of the property. Guests will get a glimpse into the life of the Chettinad community of years gone by. The accommodation is decorated with traditional handmade tiles and furnishings, all of which add to this unique experience.

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Rajakkad Estate, Rajakkad

Offering a sense of peace and tranquillity, Rajakkad Estate sits at the foothills of the Western Ghats. With only 7 en-suite rooms on offer this small 18th Century Keralan style house proudly showcases its rich architectural heritage. Rajakkad is the perfect location for nature lovers where guests can relax and spend their days listening to birdsong in beautiful gardens and open courtyards.

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Heritage Madurai, Madurai

Located on a 17 acre resort the Heritage Madurai offers spacious and elegant accommodation with large bathrooms and dedicated seating areas. The resort’s villas epitomize ultimate glamour and true indulgence with some taking luxury to the next level with their private sun decks and plunge pools. Serving Indian and international cuisine all tastes are catered for and guests can dine surrounded by ancient banyan trees while basking in the beauty of the setting.

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Destinations

Chennai, The Gateway to South India

A visit to Chennai is highly recommended if you choose to travel to India. Formally known as Madras, the capital of the Southern state of Tamil Nadu, Chennai is known as the ‘Gateway of Southern India’. The diverse range of activities and sight seeing opportunities on offer make this place the cultural hotbed of South India.

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Mahabalipuram (Mamallapuram)

This laid back beachside town is a place where ancient Indian landmarks and modern life rub shoulders. It has a collection of UNESCO designated temples, rock cut caves and one of the largest open-air rock reliefs in the world. The intricately carved Shore Temple, which overlooks the Bay of Bengal, is a perfect place to watch the sun set. Meanwhile, Othavadai Street is a popular traveller’s hangout spot, a place to grab a plate of Tibetan momos and a beer. Mahabalipuram is also a renowned surfing destination.

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Pondicherry (Puducherry)

Affectionately known as Pondy by locals, Pondicherry is a small city packed to the brim with unique experiences, from the famous Sri Aurobindo Ashram consisting of over 400 buildings across town to the gorgeous selection of white sandy beaches. The city earns its nickname ‘Paris of the East’ through White Town, the city’s historic French Quarter, with its distinct bougainvillea-draped yellow buildings and grid of wide cobbled streets.

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Kumbakonam

This bustling temple town has a rich and compelling past. It houses 18 different Hindu temples, most dedicated to Shiva and Vishnu. All the temples have brightly coloured, intricately carved gopurams, or towers. Kumbakonam was once known as the ‘Cambridge of India’, due to its prominence as a centre of European education and Hindu culture during the British Raj. You can still find a few examples of colonial architecture here, including the Town Hall.

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Chettinadu

Chettinadu is a region in Tamil Nadu steeped in grandeur and history. It comprises of 75 villages, built in the 19th century by the Chettiar traders, who made their fortune in Southeast Asia and Sri Lanka. They spared no expense building thousands of mansions for their community boasting wide courtyards and palatial rooms furnished with Italian marble and Burmese teak. Chettinad is also known for its ornate temples, each of which has its own oorani, a water tank where lilies are grown for holy rituals.

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Rajakkad, Western Ghats

The area around Rajakkad in the forests of the Palani Hills near Dindigul in the south Indian state of Tamil Nadu offers the perfect spot for nature enthusiasts to explore.  It is an area of tranquility with local villages offering bustling markets made up of pepper, cardamom and coffee traders and temple festivals, situated in a serene and beautiful location in the Western Ghats, the lush green surroundings of rolling hills and coffee plantations are the perfect ingredients for a relaxing visit. With temples and lots of tourist attractions nearby, Rajakkad has plenty to offer.

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Madurai

Tamil Nadu’s inland city of Madurai is a treasure trove of personality and unique sights. Evidence of the city’s ancient character can be found in the records of trade links with the Romans dating back to the 4th Century BC. Today it offers some truly remarkable sights including the Thirumalai Nayak Palace and the Meenakshi Temple complex.

Known locally as the city that doesn't sleep it is also a shoppers paradise with bargains galore to be seized.

 

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Tanjore (Thanjavur)

Once the capital of the great Chola Empire, Tanjore is now a bustling modern city. However its historical legacy lives on its collection of Great Living Chola Temples, which are visited by tourists and pilgrims alike. The most renowned of these is Brihadeeswarar Temple, with sandstone towers ornately decorated in religious carvings. Another notable attraction is the Maratha Palace, constructed by the Narak and Maratha dynasties. It’s a compelling maze of rooms with brightly coloured frescos and shady, crumbling courtyards.

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Pricing and Inclusions

Price guide for this 11 day Tamil Nadu Tour is

  • £1225 in low season (May 2019 - September 2019 inclusive)
  • £1435 in high season (October 2018 - April 2019 inclusive)

Please be aware some hotels operate an additional peak pricing rate during busy times. This is normally from mid-December to mid-January. Please get in touch with your dates and we will be pleased to provide you with an accurate quote.

Prices vary depending on the number of people, length of tour, accommodation & season. Reductions are normally available for groups of three or more.

This is a private tour and can be tailor-made to meet your exact requirements.

Included with this tour are the following:

  • Authentic India Tours meet & greet assistance on arrival
  • All internal transfers and sightseeing tours using an air-conditioned vehicle
  • Accommodation for 10 nights on twin sharing basis
  • Standard category rooms at all hotels unless otherwise mentioned
  • Meal plan: Rajakkad Estate on full board, Bed and Breakfast elsewhere
  • English speaking guide for sightseeing tours of Chennai, Madurai, Tanjore, Pondicherry and Mahabalipuram
  • Entrances at all national parks, museums and monuments as per the itinerary
  • Mineral water on all days of travel

Price does not include:

  • International flight tickets
  • Travel insurance and visa
  • Expenses of personal nature like laundry, tips, beverages etc
  • Meals other than mentioned in the above meal plan
  • Camera & video fees at national parks, museums & monuments

Prices mentioned above are per person based on two people sharing a twin room. The prices which were valid at the time of publication may be subject to change, based on your date of travel and local market fluctuations. You will be informed of any price differences prior to booking.

For a quote based on your dates of travel, any alternative accommodation or changes to this itinerary, please call us on 01792 315499 or email us at info@aitholidays.com